To some people, Michael Vick will be a villain for the rest of his life. On the whole, however, Vick has been a template for how to rehabilitate the image of a public figure ever since being arrested for his role leading the Bad Newz Kennels scandal.
Now, it’s more apparent how Vick handled himself so well in the wake of the revelation of his crimes.
Vick paid more than $111,000 to an elite crisis management team after his arrest in 2007, according to TMZ. The firm in question is Sitrick & Company, a public relations giant that works with a wide array of individuals, large private companies and even universities.
TMZ also managed to obtain documents indicating the specific steps the company used with Vick to rehabilitate his image. TMZ describes those steps as follows (any style and grammar errors are theirs):
“Step 1 — ‘Develop media list and identify friendly media sources.’
Translation: Who can we most easily manipulate?
And the media outlets they chose to communicate with — the ‘Today’ show, ’60 Minutes,’ People Magazine, Newsweek and ‘Larry King Live.’
Step 2 — Put Vick through intense media training ‘aimed at regaining initiative in PR war.’
Step 3 — ‘Prepare list of sympathetic parties in media and community’ … hey, ya gotta know who’s on your side.
Step 4 — Knowing when to shut up. On July 31, 2007 Sitrick advised Vick’s legal team on ‘need to avoid further interviews ahead of planned PR offensive.’
Step 5 — Execute. Vick appeared on ’60 Minutes’ on August 16. He then faced the media in a news conference on August 27 … and hit it out of the park, accepting blame, accepting punishment and vowing to learn from the experience.”
Though Vick is currently playing on a restructured contract that, at this point, is a one-year deal worth up to $10 million, he signed a six-year deal worth up to $100 million in 2009, evidence of the success of his image rebuild.